Feb 17, 2011

Perfect Practice for Writers

In Emily's last Taekwondo class, her teacher said:

"Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect."

This may sound a little harsh, but I think the message is, you can practice doing something the wrong way over and over, but you'll only become perfect at doing it the wrong way. This hit a chord with me. There are some parts of writing that I am not good at. I get a good voice for my characters, but I don't tend to do dialogue scenes well, there's either talking heads or lots of fidgeting going on. Instead of persevering, I need to learn to write dialogue scenes perfectly. This means, taking advice from experienced writers, reading up from the numerous untouched-writing manuals I have on my book shelf, or, maybe even taking on another writing course. I want to try perfect practice.

On the flip-side, I'd like a character that practices something the wrong way and becomes an expert in doing it the wrong way - which will turn out to be the way that is needed to save the day.

Is there anything you need to perfect to practice?


  1. As a very imperfect human, yes.

    Studying writers who do well what you need to improve would be a good way to go about it, too.

  2. I need to study the first few chapters of novels to see what I can do to improve my own. That way I won't fall into the trap you speak of in this post!

  3. I like your idea in the end, about a character doing something "wrong" which turns out to be right. Isn't that the best twist of life. Someone said, "There are no mistakes." Think about it, when the experiment goes "wrong" poof we've discovered something life-saving. That said, I need to go over and over certain measures in a song to get them right, otherwise, that part always sounds wrong - or does it? Maybe that's how I make the song part of me. hmmm?

  4. You know, that is a horribly scary but EXCELLENT point!